How to stop feeling light headed:
Older people often say that they feel dizzy, lightheaded, or a little faint. Even though it usually isn’t caused by anything that could kill you, it could be, so you should be careful.
“Don’t brush it off. Even if the dizziness isn’t caused by something serious, it could cause serious injuries if the person falls. And at worst, the cause itself could be dangerous to life “Dr. Shamai Grossman, an emergency medicine professor at Harvard Medical School and an associate professor, says this.
Dr. Grossman says that if you feel dizzy or lightheaded, you should drink some water or orange juice and lie down. If the symptoms last longer than 15 minutes, he says, it’s time to go to an urgent or emergency care center to get help. Even if the symptoms are short and you think you know what’s wrong, you should tell your doctor about feeling lightheaded.
What makes you feel dizzy?
Here are the most common causes of dizziness and how to fix them. Dehydration
If you’re too hot, don’t eat or drink enough, or are sick, you could become dehydrated. If you don’t drink enough fluids, your blood volume goes down. This lowers your blood pressure and keeps your brain from getting enough blood, which makes you feel dizzy. “A glass of water might be enough to make you feel better, but it will take more than that to rehydrate your body if you haven’t eaten or drunk much for days,” says Dr. Grossman. You might need to get fluid through your veins. A doctor can check to see if you need potassium or salt, which are electrolytes.
Side effects of a drug
Some medicines, like those that lower your blood pressure or make you urinate more, can make you feel dizzy. “If they work too well, your blood pressure will drop too much and you’ll feel dizzy. This is what diuretics are known for, “says Dr. Grossman. Changes to the dose or trying a different drug may be all that’s needed to fix the problem.
A sudden drop in blood pressure
When we stand up, our blood pressure changes and the autonomic nervous system helps the body keep that change in check. As we age, this system may break down, which can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure when we stand up. This is called orthostatic hypotension, and it can make us feel dizzy. This may be a long-term problem, but medications like midodrine (ProAmatine) and fludrocortisone (Florinef) can help, so you should also see your doctor about it.
Low blood sugar
“When you don’t have enough blood sugar, your brain and every other system in your body shut down to use as little energy as possible,” says Dr. Grossman. This can make you feel dizzy or confused. Even though a glass of juice might be enough to make your symptoms go away, you should still get your blood sugar checked, especially if you need more glucose (sugar) through an IV or in pill form.
Heart attack and stroke
At its worst, feeling dizzy can be a sign of a heart attack or stroke. Along with feeling lightheaded, other signs of a heart attack are often chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, arm pain, back pain, or jaw pain. Signs of a stroke are sudden headaches, tingling, weakness, changes in vision, trouble walking, or slurred speech. Dr. Grossman says that in older people, dizziness may be the only sign of a heart attack or stroke, especially if it doesn’t go away. In that case, every second counts, so you need to get to a hospital’s emergency room right away.
How dizziness is different from feeling lightheaded
Your doctor may ask, “Are you feeling lightheaded or dizzy?” Even though it can be hard to tell the difference between the two, your answer may have a big impact on how the doctor moves forward with the diagnosis based on what you say. Dizziness, also called vertigo, is when you feel like your surroundings are spinning. Lightheadedness is not the same thing.
Common causes of dizziness include side effects from medications, infections or other problems with the inner ear, tumors, a stroke in the back of the brain, Ménière’s disease, which attacks a nerve that is important for balance and hearing, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which happens when tiny crystals in the inner ear move around inside the ear canals, and Parkinson’s disease.
If you treat the cause of the dizziness, it will go away. But Dr. Grossman says you shouldn’t ignore times when you feel dizzy. “Vertigo can make you fall and hurt yourself. It’s a real problem, particularly in the elderly, and in many cases, it can be prevented,” he says.
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